These restaurants that didn’t close because of the Covid-19
The sanitary crisis linked to the coronavirus has heavily impacted the activity of the restaurants of Annecy. Update on the situation and prospect of reopening in the coming weeks.
A long closing period
Tourists on vacation in Annecy could enjoy a wide choice of restaurants before the health crisis: Savoyard, Italian, bistro, gastronomic specialties. Several restaurants have been rewarded by the Michelin Guide such as the Clos des Sens in Annecy-le-Vieux which has three stars. The creperies and brasseries of Annecy attracted a large public in front of the Thiou canal in front of the Italian church.
On the banks of Lake Annecy, visitors could taste the excellent perch fillets with a good bottle of white wine from Savoie.
The diffusion of the coronavirus has had strong sanitary consequences, but it has also heavily impacted the economy of the Annecy area. In terms of tourism, two sectors have been particularly affected: the hotel and restaurant industries. During the last three confinements and since last November, the restaurant owners of Annecy can no longer welcome customers in their establishments, nor on their terraces. Only take-away meals are authorized by the state of health emergency.
Some establishments in the little Venice of the Alps offer take-away sales in order not to close completely. But unfortunately this activity represents only a very low turnover and most of the restaurants in Annecy have chosen to close down completely. In fact, the operation of a restaurant requires a minimum number of employees and daily purchases of fresh produce.
The various successive bans on traffic more than ten kilometers from home have caused a virtual absence of the many tourists who usually fill the restaurants of the Old Town of Annecy. This situation has led the restaurant sector in such a touristic city to many financial difficulties. The aids put in place by the government: Loans guaranteed by the State, deferral of social charges have avoided many bankruptcies.
In addition, the city of Annecy had authorized the extension of terraces from June to October 2020 to attract more customers and support the summer business.
Despite the difficulties, the restaurant owners in Annecy do not want to sell. They prefer to take a salaried job to make ends meet and be ready for the resumption of activity. There are few closures directly related to the health crisis.
Most of the establishments that have permanently lowered the curtain were already in difficulty before. The restaurant owners who wish to sell prefer to delay until the activity resumes and that the estimated value of the business corresponds to its fair value.
Many signs “For Sale” have appeared on the windows of restaurants with a telephone number. It was a communication operation which aimed to inform the public of their difficulties and the telephone number was that of the standard of the Elysée.
The schedule of the decontamination for the restaurants of Annecy
Since the end of October 2020, the customers of Annecy’s restaurants are waiting to be able to share a good meal in the Old Annecy and on the banks of the lake again. This pleasure of the mouth will soon be possible again by respecting the schedule of decontamination planned by the Government:
- From Wednesday, May 19: reopening of the terraces restaurants and bars by table of 6 people maximum and shift of the curfew to 21 H. This provision will make it possible to ensure the evening service by attracting a broad tourist clientele.
- From Wednesday, June 9: restaurants will again be able to welcome the public in their establishments and the curfew will be shifted to 23 H allowing a second service with the days getting longer.
- On Wednesday, June 30, the restaurants and bars of Annecy will be able to receive their customers late because the curfew will be completely removed.
Important financial and human difficulties
Many Annécian shopkeepers report their great difficulties, both psychological and financial. The aid granted by the Government came too late. For example, it is only on November 15, 2020 that the financial support related to the first containment of March 2020 has been paid to some restaurateurs.
This delay has led to many layoffs. Business owners who had taken out loans to keep their restaurant equipment up to standard faced strong pressure from banks to pay off their loans. The competition is strong between the different restaurants in the Old Town, and the quality of the food offered ensures the loyalty of local and visiting customers. In order to maintain this high level of investment in restaurant equipment, several levers were necessary during this period of health crisis.
For example, the association of merchants “Les Vitrines d’Annecy” had proposed to the government to establish a kitty by taxing at 1% or 1.5% sales through the Internet. This measure was intended to create a solidarity fund for restaurateurs who contribute to the URSSAF, but are not entitled to unemployment.
In terms of personnel, the restaurants of Annecy usually employ a large workforce to ensure the service. They are for the most part economically dismissed and benefit from unemployment while waiting for the reopening of the terraces. We can expect many hires from the beginning of June to meet the demand of a clientele waiting to find the good habits of the lifestyle “à la française”.